Loveland's Independent News Source
McWhinney Seeks To Limit
Public Review of New
New Promenade Owners Fighting Changes
Loveland - April 24, 2012

Loveland's City Council will consider next Tuesday a proposal by
McWhinney to essentially eliminate public review for
new developments in Centerra.  The proposed changes to the Centerra Millennium GDP, known as Amendment 9,
passed a vote of Loveland's Planning Commission on April 9, 2012.

The Millennium General Development Plan (GDP) is the governing document for future developments within the PUD
(Planned Unit Development) of Centerra which acts like the zoning restrictions used in other parts of Loveland.  
McWhinney's Centerra development contains 2,916 acres within the PUD.  Any future developments within this area are
governed by the Millennium GDP which McWhinney is seeking to change.

If Loveland's City Council approves McWhinney's proposed Amendment 9, the Council will be abdicating its authority
along with that of the city's Planning Commission to approve and influence future developments located in the east
Loveland areas known as Centerra.  Property owners adjacent to future Centerra developments may also find themselves
in the dark as the requirements to notify adjacent property owners will also go away for many manufacturing and
commercial type projects even when building heights exceed 50 feet and cast shadows on or block views from
neighboring properties.

Centerra is a master planned community that includes a number of greenfield (open land) areas slated for future
development.  Unlike independent master planned communities that become cities, Centerra properties were annexed into
the City of Loveland when acquired by McWhinney to take advantage of utilities, emergency services and other benefits
of being located in a developed city thus increasing property values.  However, city planning and development standards
for Centerra are different from the rest of Loveland.

Over the past decade, as Centerra has grown, more residents have raised questions about future developments and the
compatibility with existing residential neighborhoods.  Residents and vacant property owners near Boyd Lake have been
the most vocal in recent years using their rights to appeal development decisions when they view a proposal as
detrimental to the intended enjoyment of their own property.

McWhinney Misleads Impacted Property Owners

Amendments to the Millennium GDP require the very public notices and city approvals McWhinney would like to avoid
for future commercial projects.  Nonetheless, the process to eliminate such requirements by amending the Millennium
GDP does require accurate public notice and meetings along with approval by Loveland's Planning Commission and City

A community meeting was organized, as required, by the applicant McWhinney on March 21, to notify impacted
property owners and the public of the proposed changes to the Millennium GDP.  According to an attorney representing
the new owners of The Promenade Shops, McWhinney failed to disclose critical information about the proposed
Amendment 9, during that public information meeting.  Missing from the required notice were significant changes
McWhinney failed to disclose at the public meeting the adjacent property owners only discovered April 6, when the
actual Amendment 9, was published on the city's website.

Denver attorney Jennifer Biever, representing the Promenade Shops owner, sent a letter to the City of Loveland April 9,
objecting to proposed Amendment 9 to the Millennium GDP.  Among her many objections was the fact McWhinney
failed to properly disclose the Amendment in the neighborhood meeting they hosted in order to inform neighboring
property owners about the changes.  She claimed the legally required notice of the changes sent to various property
owners by McWhinney failed to properly disclose their intent to
"adjust the non-residential site planning criteria for
shadow/shading analysis and context diagrams."  

The potential impact of this change on neighboring commercial property owners could be significant.  Current
Millennium GDP language requires a change in setback or repositioning of a high structure when it violates the
"Shadow/shading" criteria and the affected neighbor fails to approve of a variance request.  If it is enacted, Amendment
9, will remove the affected property owner's right to influence any variance of code for a project that exceeds the height
and setback requirements.  Curiously, the staff report states that Amendment 9, which puts the approval at the sole
discretion of a city staff member, is less subjective than the current CDP.  In fact, the contrary is true since the staff will
no longer be required to make a "strict interpretation" of the CDP to allow a use but instead make a subjective judgement
independent of the neighbor's view (no pun intended) when a building location and height in a project appears to violate
the CDP.

Despite Biever's objections, the Loveland Planning Commission voted to approve Amendment 9, which is now scheduled
for a vote by Loveland's City Council May 1, 2012.  Loveland city staff are supporting the amendments and lobbyied
Planning Commissioners who were doubtful to pass the motion to approve Amendment 9.

Other Objections

According to Biever, the proposed Amendment 9 also conflicts with the city's Master Plan.  Specifically, the Master Plan
contemplates active community participation in decisions and encourages greater communication with residents not less
regarding commercial and industrial developments.

Biever also argued in her April 9, correspondence,

"By eliminating public review of certain development proposals, the Applicant and the City purpose to eliminate the
primary mechanism by which the Planning Division, Planning Commission, and City Council are informed as to
potential impacts to nearby properties - the public comment process."

As the representative of perhaps the single largest property owner of developed land in Centerra, Biever also complained;

"The Promenade Shops at Centerra, located within Parcel A of the PUD, represents one of the most significant
current developments within the PUD.  Additionally, the Promenade Shops at Centerra abut a significant amount of
undeveloped acreage, currently proposed for future mixed use.  See Attachment G (Map provided by McWhinney at
neighborhood meeting).  By omitting the process for public review, including review by those in close proximity to the
proposed developments, the Applicant and the City would eliminate, or significantly reduce, Promenade's (as well as
other interested stakeholder's) opportunity to critically review, analyze, and submit or express comments as to whether
and to what extent certain proposed projects may detrimentally affect its property."

In addition to eliminating the need for public review or approval by elected or appointed officials for most new
developments, Amendment 9, also allows McWhinney to subdivide the parcel of land immediately east of Promenade
shops into two separate areas.

Other changes include the review for heavy or light manufacturing next to residential areas only if the residential area is
built-out or already plotted.  For example, light manufacturing and commercial uses in buildings exceeding 100,000 sq.
ft. abutting residential property can be approved and built without a hearing before the Planning Commission or notice of
any kind to the owner of the adjacent residential property.  If the adjacent properties are already commercial or industrial
than no notice, hearing or review by the Planning Commission will be necessary.
McWhinney staff: from top
Doug Hill, Chief Operating Officer /
Jay Hardy, Vice President & General
Manager / Alan D. Pogue, Attorney
Centerra Oil & Gas Lease

Recent coverage in the Loveland
Reporter-Herald regarding the
ongoing McWhinney
negotiations to open certain
properties for oil & gas
exploration failed to identify
certain McWhinney partisans in
the debate.

Longtime McWhinney attorney,
Alan Pogue, (pictured left) was
identified in a
recent article
(4/23/12) only as a board
member of the High Plains
Environmental Center.

Reporter-Herald story stated

Denver lawyer and board
member Alan Pogue held out
the possibility the center could
reap benefits beyond those
prescribed in a lease agreement.

Anadarko could "become an
HPEC contributor well beyond
any lease or royalty payment
obligation," he wrote.

"You may scoff at the notion
of an 'environmental
organization' getting in bed
with a petroleum company, but
I believe we should explore
whatever options might be
available to make this a bigger
benefit to our organization."

Pogue is not simply a Denver
attorney but also the paid voice
of McWhinney in many
Loveland and Centerra public
gatherings and meetings.

While the article also stated,

"Board members shared
differing opinions of the lease
proposal in their email
exchange, some saying that it
represented an opportunity for
the center, others saying that
gas and oil production under
the center's property rubs
against the center's mission."

The dispute, while well covered
otherwise by the Loveland
Reporter-Herald, is really
between McWhinney's
representatives who populate the
High Plains Board and the
volunteer members.
McWhinney History of
Attempting To Stop Public

In June 0f 2010
LovelandPolitics identified a
McWhinney employee, Mike
Hill, attempting to intimidate
this website from publishing
stories about McWhinney

read the story